You Are What You Eat?

   Last week I was given a six page essay assignment on food.   This isn't my normal genre of writing, but I am nevertheless interested in it.  The more books and articles I read or documentaries I watch about how we have changed agriculture and our food, the more interested I become.

This weekend I watched a documentary titled Food Matters.  The film claims there are ways to cure most diseases and ailments through proper nutrition.  The central theme was "you are what you eat".  Which makes sense to me, but also which I largely ignore every day.  If I am what I ate tonight, I'd be a burger.   Not a healthy food choice.  I know!  The more I watched and thought about my food choices, the more guilty I felt.

My mother was a Home Economics teacher.  She ran five kitchens in the department where she worked.  When I was still fairly young, our family doctor took me completely off sugar.  To do this, my mother made every meal from scratch.  After I became used to it, I enjoyed the food.  I felt better, and my grades improved!  Long work days, going back to school for her Master's degree, and having a little monster like myself to contend with, finally ended the cooking-from-scratch days.  Eventually, our family started eating fast food and frozen dinners more often.

I forgot how good I felt until I went to boot camp.  The galley food was cooked without any seasoning.  You could add salt etc. at the table, but generally I was so hungry I didn't even notice.  After seventeen weeks in boot camp, our division was given liberty weekend before we graduated.  We went to downtown Chicago to stuff our faces and see the sites.  The down part was… the food was so salty and greasy it was inedible.  It may have only been me, but I couldn't eat the food.  For years after, I cooked my own meals at home or ate at the galley on base.  I felt great again.

After I left the military and started college I slowly started buying frozen, easy to fix, or fast food.  If I have a vegetable in my refrigerator right now, then it's been hiding and needs to be thrown away.

After watching Food Matters, I'd like to start cooking healthy meals again.  If not all the time, then at least a few times a week.  Maybe after a while I'll get back some of the energy I used to have when I was a kid, and dedicate that energy to writing my blog more often!

Published in: on April 1, 2012 at 7:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

You Have to Write to be a Writer

I’m not sure why, but for some reason when I mention I’m a professional writing major, people want to tell me all the story ideas they’ve had. No matter how often I mention that I am more interested in technical writing, the subject always comes back to creative writing. It seems that most people privately want to be or have played with the idea of being a novelist, poet, or have come up with a great idea for a children’s book.

At one time I was a music major and people wanted me to hear the songs they had written. I later changed my major and concentrated on drawing and sketching using pencil, charcoal, etc. People would want to see my portfolio and show me the art they had created. Don’t get me wrong. I like talking to people with similar interests. It just strikes me how many people have dreams of artistic accomplishment, but how few of us truly pursue it.

I have a friend that loves movies, comics, and video games. He constantly tells me how he would love to write a screenplay. He comes up with really great stories, but never pursues it beyond talking about it. We’ve known each other for a few years, and I’ve always urged him to write them down. Last week, out of frustration, I told him “if you want to be a writer, you have to write!” I know it may sound strange, but I think it never occurred to him, if he wanted to see it published he’d actually have to write it.

Published in: on October 11, 2010 at 4:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Reading Comics vs. Books

I never read comics growing up.  My parents were book readers and encouraged me to read.  When R.I.F. (Reading is Fun) came to our school and the students were allowed to pick out books, I always thought of it as a special occasion.  So after the new craze in comic book literature started hitting Hollywood, my friends and I would talk about the movies.  Some of my friends grew up reading comics and little else, and seemed to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the characters and stories.  One in particular wanted me to read his comics so I could help him with story ideas.

My friend ended up lending me, to my mind at least, an immense collection.  He brought over two full boxes, filled to overflowing, and carefully wrapped in plastic.  Although a little daunted, I decided it couldn’t be that hard to read since they were mostly filled with pictures and very little writing.  After I started reading, however I noticed that it was taking me longer than I anticipated.  I also noticed that reading comic books was much different than reading a regular book.  It was annoying to move my eyes all over the page to get the information I wanted.  Sometimes I found myself staring at pictures and trying to figure out what was going on.  It became frustrating, and any joy I might have gotten from reading them soon went away.

After talking to my friend and relaying why I didn’t read them all, he admitted to having the same feeling about reading books.  To my friend, reading a book was difficult and tedious.  I’ve lent him books over the years and noticed they go mostly unread or unfinished and are typically either given back or lent to someone else who shows an interest.

It wasn’t until the other day when he was showing me a film review article online that I noticed something in the way that we both read.  Even when I’m looking at information on a website, I read left to right.  The ads and links etc. are peripheral nuisances and detract from the main reason I am there.  To me it seems cluttered and distracting.  My friend’s eyes however seem to jump around the page and take everything in piecemeal.  After seconds of starting to read he asked me, “did you just read that?”.  The line he was referring to was all the way at the bottom of the screen a few paragraphs down.  I commented that he was a very fast reader, but he told me he just skipped around.  After I started asking him about it, he explained that his eyes tended to roam over words until something caught his attention.  He seems to take in what’s on the page quicker than I can, but doesn’t seem to get fine details from the articles.  Is it possible that the different types of literature we read as children affect the way we read as adults?

Published in: on September 13, 2010 at 3:37 am  Comments (1)  

Hello Again!

As you can see I haven’t posted on my blog in a very long time. It’s a new school year however, and even after I graduate I am determined to keep this blog going. Since this is still relatively uncharted territory for me, I ask everyone to bear with any inconsistencies they find in my general theme or topics. Expect a post at least once a week, but when the time or mood grabs me I’ll make sure to share with you.

I am a Professional Writing major, with an interest in literature, movies, and the occasional video game. This semester I’m taking courses in Video Game Level Design, Advanced Expository Writing, Writing for the Workplace, and Classical Mythology. Since these are the things I’ll be studying, any topic that touches upon those classes, movies, or literature are fair game. Pretty broad range I know, but this is what you”ll get.

Everyone have a great day and check back soon!

Brad

Published in: on September 9, 2010 at 10:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

100 Fathoms Under the Sea

I recently worked on an audio literacy narrative for my class.  We were told to reflect on something that we’d experienced in the past by creating an audio recording conveying an event that has shaped our lives through literacy.

I chose my time in the Navy, and particularly while I was stationed aboard a submarine for my narrative.  This experience was the most memorable to me, and I thought it would be something that I could really convey how I felt to listeners.

After writing out the script and having peer critiques in class, I set about rewriting.  These critiques were very helpful and gave me a lot of new ideas and directions to pursue.

My least favorite part was the recording.  I must have recorded my audio six different times, and I still had to splice parts due to background noises, breathing, etc.  My sound files were a little hard to find, and didn’t seem to come out right.  My story didn’t lend itself to music so I was restricted to noises i.e. machinery etc, which didn’t go over well.  The background noises were hard to hear without them overpowering my voice and so listeners had difficulty associating with what they heard.

Some comments in my critique I didn’t understand. It was mentioned that my project was too “gloomy”.  I think I understand where people are coming from.  In my narrative I tell how I eventually become qualified, which alluded to my gaining more freedom.  I imagine people are looking for symmetry, it starts off dark and then life gets better.  Life however didn’t get better.  Everything became worse.  Some people on my boat took their lives because they couldn’t handle it.  Other people were given mental illness separation.  Life was tough for all of us, and we tried to stick it out together the best we knew how.

Published in: on October 29, 2009 at 4:46 am  Comments (3)  

Marketing through A.R.G.

I’ve stumbled across a lot on the internet, but nothing catches my interest and imagination like a mystery. In fact, I sometimes spend hours tracking down something I’ve found. I may see a scary video on YouTube and then search through blogs and websites to see if it has any basis in truth.
Recently I stumbled upon a video which claims a psychiatrist only read a few pages of an ancient and evil book that has him completely scared.  The video is  faked, but it did peak my interest, so I went to the original website. http://www.evilbook.org.uk/ The long and short of this is, the video was placed on YouTube, probably to drum up interest, and it worked.
This is a pretty good idea actually. It helps people suspend reality, and can help draw you further into the fantasy. While looking, I found some information about this type of “treasure hunt”, its called A.R.G. It stands for Alternate Reality Gaming. Here’s a link to the Wiki page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternate_reality_game .
A.R.G.s are a nice idea for anyone who doesn’t have the funds or resources for conventional advertising. It also holds its own appeal. Depending on the genre you write in, it could lend itself well to your style.

Published in: on October 15, 2009 at 5:37 pm  Comments (1)  

Co-authors speak at Baylor about their new book

 

Friday, September 25th, the English Department at Baylor invited special guest speakers Capt. Shannon P. Meehan and Dr. Roger Thompson to talk to faculty and students about their recent book Beyond Duty Life on the Frontline of Iraq.  Although some time was spent on the practical aspects of writing, what gripped me was the actual story that they told.

“My soldiers were very motivated and very into the spirit of what we were doing over there”

Capt. Meehan went through his account of the events that led up to his co-writing of the book with a calmness and courage that I genuinely admired.  He didn’t flinch when he began his story, but told everyone there what happened, how it affected him, and how he began the healing process.   His description of the bond he had with his men, and even the civilians he worked alongside, painted a picture of the camaraderie he shared with the people who were around him.  Capt. Meehan relayed being injured by an anti-tank IED that left him with traumatic brain injury, shrapnel, nerve damage, a ruptured eardrum, bulging discs and four of his men dead with studied calm, but seemed shaken when he came to the incident that led him to write his book.

“Civilians were lost on our watch…friends were there one day and the next they’ve died”

In a major mission in Baqubah involving thousands of soldiers, Capt. Sheehan and his men were ordered to clear every house.  During the operation, Sheehan and his men came upon a house that showed indications of being booby-trapped.  Capt. Sheehan followed protocol and ordered a strike that was carried out, but soon after learned there was a family with children in the house.

An innocent family was inside.  Mother, father, and a good deal of children.” 

Everyone in the room was quiet while Sheehan told us about what happened.  I felt a quiet from the people seated around me.  He went on to explain the changes he felt, and the questions he faced afterward.  He talked about how he tried to keep what he considered his secret to himself, but how it “festered and grew”.  “I was disgusted with myself and felt that if people knew, they would be disgusted with me”.  Afterwards Meehan explained how his anger grew and he became increasingly aggressive.  Sometime after coming home Meehan wrote a confessional email that reached Dr. Thompson, and sparked the collaboration of their book.  Both men made very good points about healing through writing, whether it’s a journal or some other form, and also how hearing someone else’s story can help people with similar experiences learn to start the healing process.

Published in: on September 29, 2009 at 3:57 am  Comments (3)  

About Me

My name is Brad LaRoque, and I am a Professional Writing major at Baylor University. I was born and raised in Texas, but have moved around a bit since graduating high school in ’94. I’ve had various jobs over the years from bartending on 6th St. in Austin, part-time guitar instructor, hotel night auditor/front desk/and reservations desk clerk. I also worked for a few years at Rudy’s BBQ in Austin as the Unit Training Coordinator where I supervised and helped hire new employees while also supervising the trainers and shift leaders. In other words, a gloryfied cashier. After the attack on 9/11 I joined the military and went into the submarine force. I went to Basic Enlisted Submarine School in Groton, CT. where I also recieved another nine months of training to become a Machinist Mate on a fast attack submarine. I was stationed in Pearl Harbor, which I really enjoyed. Some of my job titles on the ship included Helmsman, where I eventually took over as Master Helmsman for the ship, the Parts Requesition Petty Officer for my division, as well as a fireman, and also Hazmat Coordinator to name a few. After leaving the military I had an opportunity to finally go back to school, where I hope to complete my Professional Writing degree and continue with my Masters in Technical Writing. Right now my focus is on finishing my degree and to start working again, but soon after I hope to have the opportunity to either live overseas, or at least travel as much as my income and career will allow.

Published in: on September 4, 2009 at 2:15 am  Comments (5)  

My first blog post for Multimodal Composition

Hello!  This is going to be a bit of a bumpy road for a while as I am very new at this.  I would appreciate any advice or help from anyone that has more experience with blogs than I do.  Which is to say, if you’ve been on a blog more than five minutes, you have more experience than me.

Published in: on September 3, 2009 at 8:15 pm  Leave a Comment